How to Organize Your Pantry

Happy Monday! It is hard to believe that we are already at the end of January and in the last week of organizing our kitchens!  Hopefully you are starting to feel a little lighter and are motivated to continue on with The Household Organization Diet {we will be moving on to the bathrooms next month}.  If you haven’t been able to complete everything, just focus on what you have been able to do and remember that there will be catch up times later on during the year to finish all of those tasks that you didn’t have time for.

Okay, so today I will be talking about organizing your pantry {or in my case, lack there of!}

Great tips on how to organize your pantry.
Some of you may be lucky enough to have a nice dedicated pantry in your kitchen.  No such luck in our kitchen.  I have one corner cupboard {which is a pain to organize} that I have been using as our “pantry” for the past couple of years {you can see the original organization post here}.  Unfortunately, it just wasn’t working.  It was bursting at the seams and always seemed to be a mess.  One of the main rules that I have found with organizing – if it is difficult to maintain organization, it is not properly organized!

So back to the drawing board…

No matter the size of your pantry, there are a few basic ideas that can keep any space looking clean and organized.

Investing in some pretty and functional bins, baskets or canisters allows for a uniform look.  They can also be great space savers as they allow you to get rid of a lot of the bulky packaging that comes with most items.

Great tips on how to organize your pantry.
{source: HGTV}

Clear containers allow you to see what is in them and what you are running low on.  {These ones fromJaime Oliver are so cute!}.

Great ideas on how to organize your pantry.
{source: Home Shopping Spy}

Large baskets can store similar items and function as pull out drawers.

Great tips on how to organize your pantry.
{source: A Thoughtful Place}

Not only does it look great but it helps everyone know where things belong {and what is actually in there if you have removed the original packaging!}

Great tips on how to organize your pantry.
{source: I Heart Organizing}

Group similar food items together in order to simplify your cooking and baking needs and make things easier to find.

Great tips on pantry organization
{source: BHG}
To organize your pantry:
  • Empty everything out of the pantry.
  • Throw away anything that may have gone bad or is expired.
  • Place everything that does not belong in a pantry off to the side {and find a new home for it at the end!}
  • Sort everything that is left into categories.  For example, you could put all of your baking products together, bags of snack foods together, grains together, all of your canned goods together, all breakfast items together, etc.  Do what will work for you.
  • Assess what you ideally need for storage containers.  DO NOT randomly run out to the store and buy the cutest bins you can find!  I like to purchase containers that I know I can add to later as my needs change and that come in a variety of sizes.  Measure your space first so you know what will fit.  Don’t forget to shop around your own home too for baskets or bins that could be used to group boxed items or baking items together.
  • This may seem obvious, but store only what you have room for and will use in a reasonable amount of time.   If you like to bulk shop but have a small pantry, try leaving extra items in the basement, garage, or other area of your home with more storage until you need it.


So, after all of that, here is what I ended up doing…

I have bought many different food storage containers over the years and have learned that you sometimes DO get what you paid for.  Cheaper bins are fine if you do not need them to be airtight for freshness but I have found that a lot of these either {a} do not keep food fresh or {b}easily warp over time making the lids harder to fit.  If you have kids that will also be going into these bins, you know that they need to be easy to take on and off if you have any chance of keeping those lids on!

Great tips for organizing your pantry!
I have been wanting these OXO bins for a long time, but since they are quite expensive, I have avoided purchasing them.  Well… I finally caved and started buying a bin or two each week when I grocery shopped.  {Costco also has a pretty good deal if you want to buy a whole set of them}.  They are air tight and super easy for the kids to take on and off – just pop ‘em!  A couple of weeks ago, I also found these Better Homes and Garden ones at Walmart that were quite similar and a lot cheaper.

Great tips for organizing your pantry.
I ended up moving all of the dried goods out of the old “pantry” and into our Lazy Susan cupboard closer to the oven.  I actually already had a lot of food in there but the new storage containers freed up more space so I could fit everything in!

Great tips for organizing your pantry.
If you have cooking instructions that you want to keep {like with my pancake mix in the front}, just cut out the instructions from the box and place it inside the container.  You could also attach a plastic holder to the front on your container as well {like those stick on plastic business card holders} if you don’t want it inside.  The bins in front on the bottom shelf are from Ikea and I use these to hold items that do not necessarily need to be stored in airtight containers {the crackers are still in their packaging}.

Great tips for organizing your pantry.
I also used a few baskets to store boxed foods and our huge Jello collection – I had no idea I had so many boxes in there!  :)

After that extra food was transferred over to the lazy susan cupboard, my old “pantry” area was much lighter and easier to keep organized.  Here’s the top part of the cupboard…

Great tips for organizing your pantry!
…and the bottom part.

Great tips for organizing your pantry.

Happy Organizing!!

{This post is part of my Household Organization Diet series.  You can join in anytime – just start with these two posts here and here.  If you are looking for past projects, you can find them all on my Pinterest board}.  I would love for you to join in!



  1. says

    Looks great! We buy from bulk bins so having containers like these are essential – and I label everything too! It looks so much more organized!

    Have a great week!

  2. says

    looking good! I really like the chackboard on the back of the door.I too group things together, but I recycle old jars for storing things,they work quite well. Thanks again for the inspiration and have a great day!

  3. says

    Hi! Loving this post as I am bursting at my kitchen seams. :o.
    Pis the chalkboard paint or an actual board? Where can I find this? Thanks in advance. I need all the help I can get.

    • says

      The chalkboar is actual vinyl chalkboard. Just peel and stick. It has held up really well and erases easier than the spray on chalkboard paint. I think I got mine at Target or Staples but you can order online as well {I know Silhouette has some and it would probably be at Michaels or other major craft store too} Good luck with your kitchen organization!

  4. Karla says

    So fun… I just started my February calendar today so my refrigerator is ready to rock and roll and I am on my way to the pantry. Oh I feel goood today :) xox TY

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